American Scene

CONNECTICUT

Newspaper wants plagiarism suit dismissed

HARTFORD — The Hartford Courant is asking a federal judge to dismiss a $7.5 million plagiarism lawsuit filed by a competing newspaper, saying no copyright laws were broken.

Lawyers for the Courant filed a motion to dismiss the Journal Inquirer’s lawsuit on May 4, nearly two years after Courant CEO and Publisher Richard Graziano acknowledged publicly that the newspaper had unintentionally plagiarized competitors.

The Journal Inquirer, based about 10 miles east of Hartford in Manchester, first filed the lawsuit in state court in 2009, but withdrew it for technical reasons. The paper refiled it in federal court in February, claiming the Courant plagiarized at least 10 Journal Inquirer stories in violation of copyright laws.

In court papers, the Courant said “the only similarities between the parties’ works relate to inclusion of the same public domain facts” and therefore, there was no copyright infringement.

Journal Inquirer attorney Richard Weinstein disagreed, saying the stories were similar enough to warrant legal action. An attorney for the Courant declined to comment.

FLORIDA

Prosecutor: Cleric dedicated to Taliban

MIAMI — Despite a frail and pious appearance, a South Florida Muslim cleric was a dedicated financier of the violent Pakistani Taliban who disliked the “wretched” U.S. and sought the overthrow of Pakistan’s government, a federal prosecutor said in court Monday.

Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, directed how thousands of dollars were to be distributed to militant fighters “down to the dollar” and maintained at least three bank accounts in Pakistan to accept the funds, said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Shipley. More than $200,000 has been deposited in those accounts since 2005, he added, although not all the money is linked to terrorism.

Mr. Shipley laid out more details of the case against Mr. Khan; his sons Izhar Khan, 24, and Irfan Khan, 37; and three other suspects at a bail hearing. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Garber ordered Hafiz Khan and Izhar Khan held without bail, agreeing with prosecutors that both present a danger to the community and are at risk of fleeing the country.

“He is extremely active and has been extremely active in Taliban matters,” Judge Garber said of the elder Mr. Khan. The government’s evidence, Judge Garber added, shows that “his goal was to kill Americans.”

Irfan Khan was arrested in Los Angeles and also is being held without bail pending his return to Miami. The other three people named in the four-count terrorism-support indictment, including two more Khan family members, are in Pakistan. Each charge carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

NEW JERSEY

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